Joe Biden has taken a narrow lead as the results have rolled in over the last 24 hours. The Democratic nominee has confidently announced that he “will govern as an American President” as Electoral College votes show he has secured 243 out of the required threshold of 270. However, Mr Trump has also announced that, “frankly, we did win”, even though he currently has 214 Electoral College votes.
He then appeared to attack US democracy when he made the unsubstantiated claim that the election “is a fraud on the American public” — and vowed to go to the Supreme Court over the matter.
The Trump campaign has said the President intends to formally request a Wisconsin recount due to “irregularities” in several counties in the battleground state.
Mr Trump’s campaign also filed a lawsuit in Michigan, in an attempt to stop counting there as they claimed he had been denied “meaningful access” to witness the ballots opening.
The campaign then filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania to stop all vote counting, as in Georgia.
However, while this is an unprecedented move, some political pundits had been expecting it — especially after Mr Trump was so keen to elevate his conservative appointment, Amy Coney Barrett, to the Supreme Court just before the election.
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In an episode of the BBC’s Americast released just a week before the election, journalists examined how the Supreme Court could wield significant power when the results come in.
BBC North America editor Jon Sopel explained: “Amy Coney Barrett is not going to say I give the presidency to…
“But, there will be legal cases that will have that impact if there is a legal contest over the results in Wisconsin, Michigan or Florida.
“Then the Supreme Court will be asked to weigh whether there needs to be a full recount or just a partial recount — and a full recount might work in one party’s favour, and a partial recount in another person’s favour.
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“So that is where they can be decisive indirectly, determining the outcome of the election.”
He then mentioned a phrase uttered by Roy Cohn, an influential mentor to Mr Trump.
The divisive political hitman once said: “It doesn’t matter what the law is, it matters who the judge is.”
Mr Sopel then explained, with a six-three conservative majority on the Supreme Court, the justices look set to lean in Mr Trump’s favour.
He explained: “On the Roy Cohn principle, if it does get to a legal challenge, it would be good for Donald Trump you’d think.”
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Trump’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett
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The Supreme Court acted similarly in 2000 when it ended a recount of ballots in Florida.
The BBC’s senior reporter Anthony Zurcher said: “That’s what you are seeing in some of the challenges that are being brought to the way some of the ballots are being counted, in Pennsylvania, in Texas, particularly Wisconsin, where the Supreme Court said they can’t count ballots received after election day.
“That makes all the difference.”
As the election results started to be unveiled yesterday, it became clear that Pennsylvania would be a hotly contested state.
Its state law suggests that ballots can be counted after November 3 — but Mr Trump has tried to overturn this.
Speaking on the podcast, political commentator Ron Christie explained how this individual case would be escalated up to the top judges in the country.
He said: “A federal judge is — if not right now, then shortly — in a hearing to hear the validity of the President’s team’s legal argument.
“What you need in a case in controversy is to go to the Supreme Court.”
If a district court goes against Mr Trump’s team in a state, then the campaign can file an important plea, called a certiorari, to the Supreme Court which shows the case is “so pressing, so important” that the justices need to hear it immediately.
Mr Christie continued: “You need four of the nine justices to grant certiorari.
“Given that Republicans have a six to three advantage on the court, it seems likely to me that if the President loses in this hearing today, that he will appeal to the Supreme Court.”
He added in the case of the Philadelphia suburbs, the Supreme Court could be hearing a case quite soon.